Racial Tensions Getting Ugly at University of Missouri

Massive boycotts and protests likely spell the end of Tim Wolfe's tenure as president.

missouri-football-protest

A black student group has been calling for the resignation of University of Missouri president Tim Wolfe. Threats by black football players to boycott until Wolfe resigns or is fired has landed the controversy on the national stage.

USA Today (“Missouri football players to boycott until president Tim Wolfe resigns“):

More than 30 football players at the University of Missouri will not participate in any practices or games until Missouri System president Tim Wolfe resigns or is terminated. Several black team members announced their decision to strike on social media Saturday night and Missouri’s Legion of Black Collegians posted a statement on behalf of the team with a picture of players unified in support of the boycott.

Wolfe’s response to a series of racist incidents has been considered inadequate by many students who believe racism has poisoned the campus. A graduate student, Jonathan Butler, announced earlier in the week he was going on a hunger strike until Wolfe was removed. The most recent racist incident came Oct. 24 when a swastika was drawn with human feces on a college dorm’s white wall.

[…]

Missouri’s athletic department issued a statement saying it’s “aware of the declarations made tonight by many of our student-athletes. We all must come together with leaders from across our campus to tackle these challenging issues and we support our student-athletes right to do so.”

The team’s white head coach has expressed his support:

The prospect of losing $1 million if the team has to forfeit Saturday’s game against Brigham Young University has gotten people’s attention.  CSM (“niversity of Missouri racism walkout spreads to faculty“):

With one student on a hunger strike, a growing crowd camped out in the center of campus, and professors and star athletes supporting their cause, protests over incidents of racism at the University of Missouri now have national attention.

The sudden surge in public outcry – some coming from the state government – could now cost the president of the four-college system his job.

After weeks of sidestepping student questions about a string of racist incidents on campus – including several black students being targeted with racial slurs and a swastika drawn in feces in a dormitory bathroom – the prospect of a significant financial loss could be the last straw for state system President Tim Wolfe.

Student protesters say they have been trying to get Mr. Wolfe’s attention for months.

Frustrations flared during a homecoming parade Oct. 10 when black protesters blocked his car and he would not get out to talk with them. On Nov. 2, graduate student Jonathan Butler began a hunger strike which he has said will not end until Wolfe is gone. And on Friday night the president angered protesters even further when, after stepping out of a fundraiser, he was caught on video seeming to dismiss their questions about oppression on campus.

On Saturday, the protests gained national attention as players on the University of Missouri football team, including several stars, announced that they are joining the protests.

“We will no longer participate in any football-related activities until President Tim Wolfe resigns or is removed due to his negligence toward marginalized students’ experiences,” they wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. The next day the head football coach, Gary Pinkel, expressed solidarity in his own tweet.

The prospect of a boycott from the university’s  lucrative football team appears to have got the attention of both state politicians and the university’s board of curators, the system’s governing body.

If the boycott doesn’t end in time for the team’s next game – against Brigham Young University on Saturday – the will forfeit $1 million for breaking a contract between the two colleges.

Wolfe hasn’t indicated he will resign, saying in a statement Sunday afternoon that “change is needed.”

“My administration has been meeting around the clock,” he added. “Clearly, we are listening to all sides, and are confident we can come together to improve the student experience on our campuses.”

But pressure is building around him. The board of curators is holding a special closed-door meeting on Monday morning, and on Sunday the state’s top legislator on education called for Wolfe to step down.

“It has become clear that the MU system leadership can no longer effectively lead and should step aside,” said Rep. Steve Cookson, Republican chairman of the Missouri House Committee on Higher Education, according to the Missouri Times.

Rep. Caleb Jones, a Republican who represents the district that is home to the university’s flagship Columbia campus, added: “The lack of leadership Mizzou has been dealing with for months has finally reached the point of being a national embarrassment.”

Meanwhile, a university faculty group has urged professors to walk out of classes on Monday and stage a “teach-in” at a growing student sit-in at Carnahan Quadrangle in the heart of the Columbia campus.

Abigail Hollis, a black undergraduate participating in the sit-in, said the campus is “unhealthy and unsafe for us.”

“The way white students are treated is in stark contrast to the way black students and other marginalized students are treated, and it’s time to stop that,” she added. “It’s 2015.”

While I’ve obviously closely followed the controversies over police abuse of black suspects sparked by the Ferguson incident, I had previously been unaware of the tensions at the University of Missouri until this weekend. The newspapers accounts I’ve seen don’t rise to the level of presidential resignation. A few students have claimed to have been called the “N-word” and are incensed that Wolfe didn’t do more about it.  And a mob surrounded his car at homecoming and he didn’t use the opportunity to have a friendly chat with them.  Offhand, neither of those sounds like a reason to replace a university president.

But an interview in The Missourian with hunger striker Jonathan Butler reveals a broader problem.

2. Why does Butler want Wolfe out?

Because of Wolfe’s inaction in response to a “slew of racist, sexist, homophobic, etc., incidents that have dynamically disrupted the learning experience at the University of Missouri,” according to Butler’s letter.

Wolfe did not respond to the group’s concerns while he was in the car. His driver revved the convertible’s engine, and the car bumped into Butler. Some bystanders at the parade heckled Butler and the activists.

The Homecoming Parade incident represents larger issues with racism at the UM System, Butler said.

He said Wolfe has the power to create change within the four-campus system, but that Wolfe has remained silent about racism that makes students of color feel unsafe and unwelcome. Wolfe has only spoken out when students have pressed him, Butler said.

“When you look at something like Tim Wolfe — when you look at the way the system is set up — what Tim Wolfe is representing at this moment is this corrupt system that doesn’t value the lives of marginalized students,” Butler said in an interview.

In the 23 days between the Homecoming Parade and Nov. 2, when Butler began his hunger strike, “(Wolfe) had all the time in the world to come up with a statement to actually say that he cares about black students, to come up with something, and he failed to do so,” Butler said.

Butler has denounced incidents of black students being called racist slurs, among other acts of discrimination targeting minorities.

In early September, Missouri Students Association President Payton Head was called the n-word behind a fraternity house in Greektown. Members of the Legion of Black Collegians were called the same slur during an event at MU’s Traditions Plaza in early October. And, on Oct. 24, a swastika drawn with human feces was found in an MU residence hall.

“He’s never responded to Payton Head and that situation, didn’t respond to the LBC incident, didn’t respond to the incident with the swastika in the residence hall.

“That’s not what leadership is. We look at his physical job description, (which is to) provide a safe learning environment for students. He’s not fulfilling that part of the duty.”

So, it’s not just a couple of incidents but a widespread climate on campus wherein groups of students feel marginalized, if not outright fearful of their safety. While I wouldn’t expect Wolfe to necessarily publicly respond to any of them individually, he’s simply not leading.  Not surprisingly, then, he’s lost the confident of large swaths of not only the student body but the faculty.  He has to go.

Alas, that’s not enough for the main student group behind the protests. Concerned Student 1950 wants a whole lot more than a new president:

The group outlined eight demands. Highlights include:

  • A news conference of Wolfe reading a handwritten, formal apology.

  • The immediate removal of Wolfe as UM System President.

  • Enforcement of mandatory racial awareness and inclusion curriculum for all faculty, staff and students, controlled by a board of color.

  • An increase in the percentage of black faculty and staff to 10 percent by the 2017-18 academic year, and the development by May 1 of a 10-year plan to promote a safer, more inclusive campus.

  • An increase in funding to hire more mental health professionals for the MU Counseling Center, particularly those of color, and more staff for the social justice centers on campus.

Expecting Wolfe to simultaneously be fired and yet humiliate himself in public is absurd. While the larger goal may be worthwhile, a rapid change in the demographics of the faculty is highly problematic. And subjecting students and faculty to mandatory propaganda from a “board of color” is just antithetical to academic freedom.

Regardless, things have spiraled so far out of control that Wolfe’s continuance in office is untenable. While I’m generally uncomfortable with the notion that students—much less football players—should dictate the leadership of our universities, academic leaders have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their students and provide a climate conducive to the free exchange of ideas. That, sadly, is not happening at the University of Missouri.

UPDATE:  Minutes after publication of this post, Wolfe announced his resignation. Details to follow.

UPDATE 2:  Here’s the AP report:

President Tim Wolfe, a former business executive with no previous experience in academic leadership, took “full responsibility for the frustration” students had expressed and said their complaints were “clear” and “real.”

He made the announcement at the start of what had been expected to be a lengthy closed-door meeting of the school’s governing board.

The complaints came to a head a day earlier, when at least 30 black football players announced that they would not play until the president was gone. One student went on a weeklong hunger strike.

“This is not the way change comes about,” Wolfe said, alluding to recent protests, in a halting statement that was simultaneously apologetic, clumsy and defiant. “We stopped listening to each other.”

He urged students, faculty and staff to use the resignation “to heal and start talking again to make the changes necessary.”

The lack of experience with academic leadership may have been an issue, although plenty of universities have hired former political, military, or business leaders and they’ve been successful. University presidents aren’t provosts but fundraisers and figureheads. But Wolfe clearly had no idea how to handle dissent from below and allowed a manageable situation to get way out of hand.

FILED UNDER: Academia, Education, Race and Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Scott says:

    Having the football players join in is what brought attention to the national media. What really caught my eye was the support of the head football coach, Gary Pinkel. That is support coming from a pretty powerful place.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that such a situation could exist here in this land of freedom, equality, and justice that we call Misery… ooopps, I mean Missouri.

    Actually, this caught me a little by surprise as Columbia is known for being a little more progressive than the rest of this state. But in retrospect, considering everything else going on around here (most of which never gets anywhere near a newspaper) it is not that surprising. We’re still fighting that damn war.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    University of Missouri president resigns amid protests over racial intolerance

    Also James, nice to able to comment again… for the moment anyway. 😉

  4. James Joyner says:

    @Scott: Indeed. Realistically, I’m not sure he had much choice. A head football coach who alienates his black players will soon become an ex-head football coach.

    @OzarkHillbilly: Hopefully it’ll continue. The backend has been sluggish this morning.

  5. Ron Beasley says:

    He has resigned. May have been forced into because of the millions of dollars the University will lose if the forfeit football games. .

  6. Ron Beasley says:

    He has resigned. May have been forced into because of the millions of dollars the University will lose if the forfeit football games. .

  7. Jenos Idanian says:

    They’re upset over the Ferguson shooting? Which was proven to be perfectly legally justified? That the whole “police brutality/execution” story was a myth and a lie from the start?

    Too bad he resigned. There was a perfectly appropriate solution at hand: any player who is there on a scholarship and boycotts playing loses their scholarship. It’s a contract; they play, they get money for schooling. They refuse to play, they forfeit the money.

  8. Tillman says:

    While I’m generally uncomfortable with the notion that students—much less football players—should dictate the leadership of our universities

    Students dictating to faculty or administrators what they expect is older than our nation. It’s a tradition going back to the first universities in Europe in the High Middle Ages (just one example), when aristocratic sons needed guarantees that what they were spending father’s money on would actually pay off. Then as now, student strike was an effective means of protest as there was a lot of money to lose on towns’ and universities’ part if the students decided to go elsewhere.

    Not saying this should diminish discomfort at the notion of a lower rung of the “hierarchy” challenging a higher rung, just that this isn’t a new thing by any stretch.

    @Jenos Idanian:

    They’re upset over the Ferguson shooting? Which was proven to be perfectly legally justified?

    Fixed that for you.

  9. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Which was proven to be perfectly legally justified?

    Proven by a rigged grand jury system.
    Then the U.S. Justice Department determined that the FPD had engaged in misconduct against the citizens of Ferguson; discriminating against African-Americans and applying racial stereotypes, in a “pattern or practice of unlawful conduct”.

  10. C. Clavin says:

    @C. Clavin:
    Doh…I forgot…when males like Jenos are the real victims of racism.

  11. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    They’re upset over the Ferguson shooting? Which was proven to be perfectly legally justified?

    Reading comprehension fail.

  12. Jenos Idanian says:

    @C. Clavin: Got a single shred of evidence that the shooting of Michael Brown was unjustified, and the result of a racist bias by the officer in question? Or are you, once again, saying that because some cops are bad, whichever one you pick to punish deserves it, regardless of what they actually did?

    Your reasoning is a laughable as… damn, I can’t think of anything as laughable as that.

  13. Franklin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    They’re upset over the Ferguson shooting?

    I’ll just note that, other than an aside by James unrelated to the issue at hand, Ferguson is never mentioned in the above post nor blurbs.

    So even if we pretend Ferguson was justified for a moment, your comment is off topic.

  14. Modulo Myself says:

    Right now, every university president of a Division I school is busy looking at what African-American student groups have to say about the racial environment on campus.

  15. Modulo Myself says:

    Also, given that this was about as MLK-inspired as possible, it’s going to be funny watching all of the usual jerks and dummies who pretend to love King become upset about how totalitarian and mob-like these SJWs are.

  16. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    There’s a difference between legally permissible and morally right. Especially when the laws have all been written by white people not overly concerned with minority rights.

    Now, you can pretend not to know the difference, but I have to say you are drifting from your usual genteel racism into overt racism now. There is apparently no abuse of power by whites against blacks that you won’t defend.

    These students bought a service: a university education. If campus racists are making it impossible for black students to get what they paid for, there’s a problem. If the administration won’t make an effort to fix the problem, they are failing in their core obligation to students.

    The black students (and white allies) have evidently tried politely to get the attention of the administration and failed. Now they are trying less polite means.

  17. Gavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    There is always a Higher Principle to defend when a minority is attacking white supremacy.

    Also remember that the position of President is at-will. So, Wolfe can be fired at any time.

    If Wolfe had any hope of staying, the first thing he would have had to face would be Pinkel.. who asserted that HE speaks for Mizzou, not Wolfe.

  18. cian says:

    A news conference of Wolfe reading a handwritten, formal apology.

    Yeah, the above, and calls for Wolfe to admit to his white privilege status, are disturbing. I immediately thought of Mao and the cultural revolution, not as an exact par, of course, but in terms of where things can go if we are not careful. Maybe he’s done a bad job and in all likelihood deserved to be fired/made resign, but these two demands are not the demands of reasonable people.

  19. Modulo Myself says:

    @cian:

    Black people will seize control, operate a secret police force, and torture confessions out of white people? That’s where we are headed?

  20. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    You keep forgetting that Jenos and other white males are the real victims here.

  21. michael reynolds says:

    @cian: @Modulo Myself:

    I would not deny there’s a Maoist re-education camp feel to some of what is being demanded in the fever swamps of the far left. I’ve had some run-ins with far lefties who really are heading down a slippery slope.

    That said, you have to be deaf, dumb, blind and stupid not to acknowledge the existence of white privilege. I don’t want people walking through the streets flagellating themselves to purge their privilege, but a nice start would be for white people to stop pretending it’s not real.

    “I’m healthy, I’m relatively young, I’m white, which, thank God for that sh-t, boy, that is a huge leg up, are you kidding me?” Louis CK.

    Not that hard to admit. Because it’s true. And if white people would stop lying, black people could stop insisting. Then we can worry about slippery slopes.

  22. ernieyeball says:

    @cian:.. but these two demands are not the demands of reasonable people.

    Many considered the demands made by the authors of these words to be unreasonable 240 years ago…

    In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

  23. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: Actually, it’s a more significant lapse than failing in a core obligation to students; major universities, actually nearly all large enrollment higher education complexes, are more business than service. Look at the degree to which these schools are never big enough and the degree to which they recruit new students aggressively. The power of sports teams in a conflict such as this one redounds to the effect of sports teams as tools to recruit more and larger entry classes.

    Mizzou is not only failing in a core obligation to students, it’s pissing off customers. It’s a crime against capitalism and the very core of our national ethos.

  24. Hal_10000 says:

    I think the mistake made by the President was basically going silent on this. In doing so, he gave the impression that the concerns of black students were unimportant. It would have been one thing if he’d said, “This is bad, but does not reflect our community, etc.” or to say he though this was people trying to stir up trouble by pretending to be racists (as has come to light with the Berkeley thing). But the relative silence doomed him.

  25. Steve V says:

    @Franklin: Rush Limbaugh was all over this this morning claiming it was because of Ferguson. So I imagine it’s become part of the right’s view of this whole thing.

  26. C. Clavin says:

    @Steve V:
    Well that explains where Jenos got his opinion from.

  27. jewelbomb says:

    “Racial Tensions Getting Ugly at University of Missouri”

    Cool headline! May we infer, then, that racial tensions a the university weren’t ugly before? I guess a slew of racist incidents on campus doesn’t qualify, and racial tensions can only be considered “ugly” once those protesting start getting results.

  28. C. Clavin says:

    Forensics of an “opinion”…
    @Jenos Idanian:

    They’re upset over the Ferguson shooting?

    @Franklin:

    I’ll just note that, other than an aside by James unrelated to the issue at hand, Ferguson is never mentioned in the above post nor blurbs.

    @Steve V:

    Rush Limbaugh was all over this this morning claiming it was because of Ferguson.

    @C. Clavin:

    Well that explains where Jenos got his opinion from.

  29. MarkedMan says:

    I never thought I’d be defending the President of a Southern football school, but the mob mentality among college students right now is a bit sickening. And, unless I missed something, the students really haven’t pointed to anything the University President did wrong, rather simply that he couldn’t stop everyone from being so mean. Welcome to the real world.

    What is even more depressing about this is that once the football program was affected, it was like a light switch went off. Just further proof that going to a football or basketball school is a waste of money. The top administration answers to the coach and the donors and the academics are just for show.

  30. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @cian:

    You can say that I’m unreasonable / But I’ve got news for you, son
    I’ve got ninety-five theses / and a pope ain’t one

  31. Lit3Bolt says:

    I’m surprised no one’s linked to Time Wolfe at a fundraiser being confronted by students.

    Wolfe: “I will give you an answer, and I’m sure it will be a wrong answer.”

    Someone in the crowd: “You gonna Google it?”

    Wolfe: “I will give you an answer, and I’m sure it will be a wrong answer.”

    Someone in the crowd: “Tim Wolfe, what do you think systematic oppression is?”

    Wolfe: “It’s — systematic oppression is because you don’t believe that you have the equal opportunity for success — ”

    At this point, the crowd reacted negatively. Most of what Wolfe said next is inaudible. After a few seconds, he walks away.

    Someone in the crowd: “Did you just blame us for systematic oppression, Tim Wolfe? Did you just blame black students —”

    Here’s a link to the video.

    THAT is what got Tim Wolfe fired. That’s what blew up the media attention, got the football players’ attention, and led directly to his firing. The fact that he was so dismissive of swastikas being painted around campus and white students/strangers screaming obscenities at student minority leaders led to the creation of this situation and an unsafe space. He simply believes black and Jewish students weren’t getting what they wanted and were just whining for an “equal opportunity for success.”

    At some point, being a white ignorant asshole whose main job is to not drink too much at fundraisers got to be too much for Tim Wolfe.

  32. MikeSJ says:

    A news conference of Wolfe reading a handwritten, formal apology.

    Is his resignation going to be enough? There was no sobbing, tearful apology so the SJW’s may have no recourse but to pursue him further. I’m hoping for the wearing of the traditional dunce cap and him having to write his confession with chalk on the ground.

    Now that’s a show!

    He hasn’t been driven out of town or had his family harassed yet either. These guys are just not bringing their “A” game to this it seems.

  33. Grewgills says:

    @James Joyner:
    Sorry, juvenile I know, but

    The backend has been sluggish this morning.

    That cracked me up.

  34. cian says:

    That said, you have to be deaf, dumb, blind and stupid not to acknowledge the existence of white privilege.

    Michael,

    I am awake to the world I live in, so I do of course acknowledge my white privilege. I also rejoice when those who have been oppressed win the argument through the rightness of their position. Demanding that someone humiliate themselves to attone for their sin doesn’t sit right or seem reasonable to me.

  35. michael reynolds says:

    @cian:

    The man was earning $459,000 a year – in Missouri dollars, which is better than a million in San Francisco dollars – to ignore the fact that minority students under his care were feeling threatened and excluded.

    People who don’t want to be on the wrong end of demands like that (which makes me squirm as well) should probably start by taking seriously the polite and respectful requests they get earlier. If you ignore “Please, sir, can we discuss this?” then things tend to escalate and the rhetoric gets super-charged. It’s like a customer service call where the operator stalls and stalls and stalls until you lose it and yell, at which point they have an excuse to hang up and suddenly you’re the bad guy.

    Mr. Wolfe was not doing his job, and the fact that things got extreme is his fault. What black students were essentially getting from Mr. Wolfe was, “Hey, deal with it.” Well, now he’s dealing with it. And the next university president will be a bit quicker to pay attention.

  36. Grewgills says:

    @cian:
    How are an apology and admission of unrecognized privilege the equivalent of humiliation?

  37. Chip Daniels says:

    @jewelbomb:

    racial tensions can only be considered “ugly” once those protesting start getting results.

    QFT.

    TNC pointed out how the calls for “civility” and “calm rational discussion” are never heard when it is the minority and poor who are on the receiving end of violence and harsh treatment.

    When union organizers are summarily fired or worse, when Section 8 residents are evicted over a joint, when undocumented immigrants are subjected to toxic workplaces and sweatshop conditions, none of this is “ugly”, no one calls for calm, no one calls for civility.

    Its only when the comfortable are afflicted that suddenly everyone starts talking like Ghandi.

  38. Rafer Janders says:

    @Grewgills:

    How are an apology and admission of unrecognized privilege the equivalent of humiliation?

    Well, that’s it right there, isn’t it? For some, being asked to apologize is itself the humiliation — which makes you realize what a cozy and cosseted world they’ve lived in up to that point.

  39. Lit3Bolt says:

    I’m seriously astonished by the behavior of some of the comentariat. Yes, I know it’s the Red State Rage to whine about colleges being a hotbed of communists and atheists and ni-CLANGs, but seriously, if students at a high school were being raped, or swastikas being painted in high school football locker rooms, you KNOW this would get a lot more attention.

    But in college, the answer is just, “Oh, being roofied and raped is normal, deal with it,” or “Hey everyone here wears blackface here and screams the N-word every game day, just deal with it.” I can’t imagine any high school principal surviving if that happened in their school and that was the answer they gave to parents.

    And University presidents get paid more than any high school principal in the United States (unless they’re the principal of one of those faux-Etons). I mean, really, swastikas are being painted in dorms, and you’re reluctant to have an opinion about that? REALLY? It’s like being reluctant to give an opinion about the assassination of MLK…but given the opinions of Jenos, maybe I shouldn’t ask that…

  40. MarkedMan says:

    @Rafer Janders: And for some, the crowd rising up and demanding that the former leader apologize and admit their wrongs, and then go to a re-education camp training, raises questions. Maybe not certainties, but at least questions…

  41. Grewgills says:

    @MarkedMan:
    The now former president was not sent to any sort of camp or even seminar, nor was that a demand or request of the protesters.
    The did request what amounts to a seminar on racial awareness for the remaining faculty and staff. Equating that to communist re-education camps is absurd. Are the sexual harassment trainings in virtually every large corporation also the near equivalent to or the slippery slope to communist re-education camps?

  42. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Grewgills: Because we live in a society where no one in power is ever expected to say the words “I’m sorry, I was wrong.”

  43. MarkedMan says:

    @michael reynolds: Michael, you raise good points. Context is everything here, and we don’t have all the context. It is not hard for me to believe that this football institution hired a good old boy who’s main job it is to cover up the misdeeds of the sports program and is completely out of his depth when it comes to handling real students. It’s not hard for me to believe – but that doesn’t make it true. Unfortunately, it’s also not hard for me to believe that students are working themselves into a froth and going after whoever happens to catch their eye. Given what’s been going on at Yale these past few days… (For those who missed it, a professor/residence life administrator dared to suggest that maybe it wasn’t the place of the school administration to tell adults what they should or shouldn’t wear for Halloween costumes. Her husband was surrounded by a group of angry students cursing him and his wife out and screaming in his face. Yesterday there was a rally of 700 students demanding that the miscreants apologize and go to reeducation camp.

    When I think back to my days in college when, as an RA, I and a bunch of my colleagues threatened to resign over the administration getting too involved in students personal lives, well, all I can say is that I am puzzled by this turn.

  44. Chip Daniels says:

    @Lit3Bolt:
    Lets be fair to the conservatives.

    They have had to endure the oppression of Starbucks refusing to put “Merry Christmas” on their cups.

    So really, both sides.

  45. ernieyeball says:

    Downvote for the Declaration of Independance!
    Goddamn Torys are everywhere!
    (See post this thread @ Monday, November 9, 2015 at 12:59)

  46. cian says:

    How are an apology and admission of unrecognized privilege the equivalent of humiliation?

    Of course he should offer an apology and has done so. It’s the demand that he come before them and admit to his privileged position that I have a problem with. I’m glad the students protested, that they were loud about it and unapologetic and made themselves heard to the point of being taken seriously and having their concerns recognised and acted on. They won, rightly so, and the man has been forced from his position. It seems that’s not enough, though. The guy’s an asshole. Let him walk off into…well, whatever it is assholes walk off into. The students won. Be like Ali and don’t throw the punch.

  47. WR says:

    @Chip Daniels: “When union organizers are summarily fired or worse, when Section 8 residents are evicted over a joint, when undocumented immigrants are subjected to toxic workplaces and sweatshop conditions, none of this is “ugly”, no one calls for calm, no one calls for civility.”

    And now that middle class whites are killing themselves off with booze and pills — and even heroin — at an appalling rate, the pundit class is rushing to find the reasons for this despair.

    When it happens in minority communities, the reasonable conservatives like David Brooks and Ross Douthat rush in to explain that it’s a cultural issue, that they don’t like Jeebus enough, that they don’t have a work ethic, that they don’t get married enough, that they wear their pants to low — in every way, that they are morally inferior and thus make themselves victims.

    But now that it’s the white guys — it’s all the terrible external circumstances.

  48. grumpy realist says:

    Yes, well, over at TAC Rod Dreher has gone apesh*t over the marauding bands of Social Justice Warriors and is convinced that Western Civilization is going to pot. (Standard Dreher, by the way.)

    What no one seems to notice is that these kids are, well, KIDS. I predict 99% of them will be totally embarrassed with their college antics in 5 years and will be desperately hoping that the HR person at the company they have just applied to doesn’t manage to dig up the SJW-stance pictures they are proudly plastering all over Facebook right now.

    (I have more sympathy for the Mizzou students than the Yale students, by the way. It does look there’s a nasty situation at Mizzou. At Yale, we’ve got the whining of a bunch of a lot of kids raised by helicopter parents.)

  49. WR says:

    @grumpy realist: “At Yale, we’ve got the whining of a bunch of a lot of kids raised by helicopter parents.)”

    Ah, the secret to a happy life: The knowledge that anyone younger than you is a spoiled child who hasn’t learned any better and anyone older than you is a senile fool who forgotten everything he learned, and that you are the only one with true wisdom, no matter what stage of life you’re at.

  50. Modulo Myself says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Who are the adults at Yale? Some of the protesters seem awful but this is from the letter:

    Even if we could agree on how to avoid offense — and I’ll note that no one around campus seems overly concerned about the offense taken by religiously conservative folks to skin-revealing costumes — I wonder, and I am not trying to be provocative: Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious … a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?

    This is basic troll bait and from an actual adult. She is of course trying to be provocative. Anyone who asks isn’t there room in our community for a stupid blackface costume worn by some rich white kid has purposefully gone out of their way to be a jerk. It’s like asking isn’t there room in our shared southern history for some nice antebellum pro-Dixie propaganda.

  51. Chip Daniels says:

    @grumpy realist:
    I am solidly middle aged, and remember distinctly the stupid melodramatic stuff my peers did in the late 70’s early 80’s.
    Our foolishness made the Yalies look like Mandela.

    Yet here we are, tut-tutting these kids today.

  52. Grewgills says:

    @cian:
    Equating, even tangentially and with qualifications, asking Wolfe to admit to his unrecognized privilege to communist re-education camps is ridiculous. Requests for that admission began before he gave his apology and he certainly won’t be forced to do so by the power of the state or any other power. He will leave and be picked up by some conservative organization and be fine.

  53. grumpy realist says:

    @WR: Well, of course! [grin]

  54. bill says:

    @Ron Beasley: there’s a million reasons!

  55. MarkedMan says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    This is basic troll bait and from an actual adult

    Hmm.. I don’t see it. Although I may or may not disagree with her (Truth – I don’t really have an opinion either way – in fact, I don’t think it even merits an opinion) it is her opinion. And to hound someone out of a job for holding an opinion different than yours? Well, it should be pretty egregious. Thinking that adult students should be left to themselves to decide their Halloween costumes? No. I think 700 students showing up to demand her job is scarily absurd. It is entering thought police territory.

  56. Modulo Myself says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I don’t think she should be hounded out of a job. That said, her opinion is a mystery to me and seems as much as a part of institutional academia as arguments over safe spaces.

  57. Tyrell says:

    Today some of the demonstrators blocked the media and pushed them around as they tried to cover a meeting. Some are calling Twitter and other social media “white racist”. At least one faculty member participated in pushing out the media. Since this is a state university, it would seem that this is a legal violation . Meetings are supposed to be public.
    Some of these demonstrators say that this is “just the beginning”. Will there be demands for faculty members to resign ? Will they demand the university board to resign ? How far will this coach go in supporting these people if their demands get more radical ? And keep in mind this school is supported by taxpayers, who have a say in this also.
    If there is widespread discrimination and civil rights laws violated, then an investigation by the DOJ is certainly justified, but there can be no mob rule. We cannot return to the insurrections, violent takeovers, and destruction of major universities that we saw in the 1960’s.
    Discussions and reasonable reforms are one thing, but some sort of extreme takedown and tear up are crossing the line. The officials must keep order.

  58. Moderate Mom says:

    @Modulo Myself: I read the entire email. Highlighting a single paragraph smacks of dishonesty by taking it out of context. Hopefully others will read the entire thing and then watch the videos of the girl shrieking about her “pain”. These little entitled snowflakes are ridiculous.

    Thank god both of my children have already graduated from college.

  59. MarkedMan says:

    @Moderate Mom: Even in the one paragraph I’m not sure I see where Modulo is coming from. Modulo, are you still following this thread? What’s so bad about what she said? What, specifically, makes her a troll?

  60. Modulo Myself says:

    Look, Yale wrote a lame common-sense email about how not to offend people with the object of avoiding having pictures of wealthy students dressed up in stereotypes of poor people end up on the internet. We’re talking about pictures of parties where white people dress up as gangsters and drink 40s.That’s it.

    Her email comes off, to me, as a glib substance-free means of making it seem like African-Americans are being childish and told what to think if they’re offended by some white fraternity guys dressed up as mindless racist stereotypes. Whether or not that was her intention is beyond me. But it’s terrible writing and completely self-involved.

  61. Ken in NJ says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    I dunno – it looks like a not particularly controversial slightly right of center response to an long, unnecessarily jargon filled, noticeably left of center missive asking students to not act like bigoted jerks and to be aware that it’s possible to do so unintentionally.

    Not really a big deal at all, either one of them, from any rational perspective. I happen to largely agree with the sentiment of one and the recommendations of the other. Reasonable people may disagree. But the response from the students is completely unhinged. Overwrought, extremist pearl clutching does nobody any good, least of all the people doing it.

    When your only tool is a hammer, you really ought to find some more tools before trying to fix real world problems

  62. Modulo Myself says:

    @Ken in NJ:

    Talk to each other. Free speech and the ability to tolerate offence are the hallmarks of a free and open society.

    I suspect that most if not all African-Americans disagree that the ‘hallmark’ of American society is their ability to tolerate without protest racist speech.

  63. MarkedMan says:

    @Modulo Myself: This may be a case of personal history. I read what she says (and I did read the whole fairly lengthy email) as a push back against the University injecting itself into decisions that should be made by adults. Essentially, pushing back against infantilization and lecturing by university officials. This strikes a real chord with me based on the issues I fought with my schools administration about (back in the dark ages). I think she also subtly points out that if there is to be a discussion about being offended there are many people who would want a seat at that table. A reasonable dialog would have to address everyone’s concerns in a fair way.

  64. bill says:

    @Tyrell: i saw that video, some wacky liberoids trying to suppress free speech- what else is new? they’re all about free speech, as long as they agree with it.

  65. Ken in NJ says:

    @Modulo Myself: Talk to each other. Free speech and the ability to tolerate offence are the hallmarks of a free and open society.

    If that’s supposed to be a paraphrase of my comment, you’ve misread it, badly. If that’s supposed to be a quote, you need to go find 1) the correct discussion; and 2) the person who actually said it.

    suspect that most if not all African-Americans disagree that the ‘hallmark’ of American society is their ability to tolerate without protest racist speech.

    This response actually made me think that perhaps I had posted my comment in the wrong thread, but scrolling up I see that’s not the case. Perhaps you have confused the context of my comment. It was a response to a the discussion of “those students at Yale”, and is related only to that specific subject. And in that situation, there is absolutely nothing in the response letter that was racist, or that said (or even implied, really) that students of color must put up with racist speech without protest.

    My opinions on the Mizzou are very different. My comment above isn’t part of that discussion at all.

  66. Modulo Myself says:

    @Ken in NJ:

    Um, the quote is from the letter, which you supposedly read:

    Nicholas says, if you don’t like a costume someone is wearing, look away, or tell them you are offended. Talk to each other. Free speech and the ability to tolerate offence are the hallmarks of a free and open society

    It actually implies that the hallmark of free society is to tolerate racial offences. I’m guessing that this is the default position of most liberal white people who think they are well-meaning. I don’t know. Free speech but don’t cross the line into another kind of free speech that threatens the status quo. You have some fanatic upthread mocking a Yale student’s pain. That’s permitted, obviously.Black people should be open to debate whether or not their emotions are real, right? they should have a nice talk with the people dressed up in blackface, and maybe both sides can learn a lesson or two.

    That’s my interpretation, at least. More importantly, if I intended to express something about how one should behave ethically when faced with discrimination and prejudice, I would never have taken her rhetorical course. To me, as a white man, it’s like rubbing someone’s face in the means I have to deal with offense. It’s like someone with a trust fund explaining to a poor person how to make the most of their lives by citing his experience waiting tables and playing in a band for a few years after college.